W. Benny Mattis

Trinity Fellow Class of 2017

Graduate Program: MA, Applied Philosophy

Undergraduate Degree: Institution: B.A. in Philosophy, University Massachesetts Amherst

Trinity Nonprofit Agency: St. Joesph Academy, Trinity Fellow

Full-time Service Experience, Years Served, Location:

Repair the World Detroit, 2014-2015; AmericCorps NCCC FEMA Corps, 2013-2014; Home Campus at North Central Region, served in Colorado, Texas and Washington D.C.

Service Experience:

I was inspired to serve by stories I heard as a child of missionaries traveling around the world to spread the good news and help the underprivileged. I was an atheist by the time I finished college, but this kind of lifestyle still seemed very meaningful to me, and a year of service in AmeriCorps seemed to be meaningful in a similar way. My two years of service were challenging and humbling; I learned a lot about social (in)justice and how difficult it can be for people from different backgrounds to get along sometimes (especially while living in community). I also learned just how valuable the rewards are when such a goal is achieved.

Trinity Fellowship Experience:

I found the Trinity Fellows Program on the list of schools that match the AmeriCorps Education Award. While applying to grad schools during my first year of service, I saw that the school and philosophy department were Jesuit and believed that it was not the best fit for me. One year later, when I was again applying to grad schools during my second year of service, I had rediscovered a more open mind to religious concepts. I was also more interested in continuing work in the social sector than in pursuing academic learning. When I came across the Trinity Fellows Program, I realized that I could have the best of both worlds if I got in. I could work at a nonprofit making the world a better place, and also seek to find and explain philosophical truths. Trinity was the only program I applied to that year, because I figured other programs would foreclose the option for me to continue working in nonprofits.

Trinity Fellows has helped me grow by allowing me to meet some very insightful and justice-oriented people, both in my Philosophy department and among my fellow Fellows. In my discussions and interactions with them, I have been and will be pushed further than I would have been otherwise to be a leader for social and economic justice.

Being a part of the Trinity Fellows community means that I have a particular freedom and responsibility to constructively deconstruct acts and structures of social and economic injustice in public and private. It means that I am not alone in this practice, but rather that I have a network of fellow Trinities to consult for advice and assistance as appropriate.

Plans After Graduation:

I see myself sharing my experience and learning with others in my community. I see myself using my assets to spread awareness and set an example by listening to anyone who is typically ignored by society at large. I am looking into employment opportunities as an IRB compliance officer for hospitals or research facilities.

Fellows Class

Quick Links


Carole Ferrara, Director
(414) 288-5861

Carolyn Swabek, Assistant Director
(414) 288-0637

Peggy Mead, Program Assistant
(414) 288-5473